Ratan Tata’s Investment In Ola Electric Underlines The Future Of Mobility Is EV

Ola led by Bhavish Aggarwal has been the most successful ridesharing provider in the country. But it is beyond just a cab aggregator today since it is planning to launch its line of electric vehicles in the country which will be called Ola Electric. Now, industrialist and tech magnate Ratan Tata has announced that he will be investing in this new line of eco-friendly vehicles.

Ola Vision

In December 2010, Ola started with a vision to bridge the gap between cab owners and commuters, making transportation easier for the people. Ola has already announced its plan to bring one million electric vehicles to Indian roads by the year 2022. Ola’s plans to develop a network of shared electric vehicles came from a dream of Softbank CEO, Masayoshi Son, who in December 2017 said he would “gift” one million electric cars to India through Ola.

Ola has already had its multi-modal project in Nagpur in which electric cars, autos, buses and e-rickshaws ran in randem. The company is soon going to showcase its concept electric vehicles, which would have an electric three and a four-wheeler, based on feedback from this project. For its commercial model, the company is already in talks with potential vendors to get the necessary component supplies like the lithium battery which accounts for over 50 percent of the vehicle cost. The company has never before had its core business around the manufacturing. But it has already put together a mobility team under Anand Shah, who has worked in various automobile companies, with the mandate to design and build e-vehicles. Along with deploying electric vehicles, Ola is also involved with installing more charging solutions, including battery swapping stations.

With the Indian government launching policities in favour of electric vehicles there is an advantage to the key players in the space of EV, including Ola. Ola had asked the government to consider battery swapping and quick charge as appropriate technologies to promote EVs. The government launched a Rs10,000-crore scheme in March, the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME 2), under which it planned to offer subsidies for EVs based on the size of their batteries.

What Will Tata’s Investment Bring To Ola

Today it was announced that industrialist and Chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata, has invested an undisclosed amount in Ola’s Electric Mobility business as part of its Series A round, the ride-hailing platform. Talking about his investment, Tata said, “The electric vehicle ecosystem is evolving dramatically every day, and I believe Ola Electric will play a key role in its growth and development.”

“Ratan Tata has been an inspiration and a mentor to me personally in shaping Ola’s journey over the years,” said Aggarwal.

Ola Electric had earlier raised about Rs 400 crore from investors Tiger Global and Matrix Partners India and it was the first independent round of investment that Ola’s electric mobility unit has raised.

The advantage that Ola has over traditional rivals is that the company and its driver partners could become a large captive market for the product, and create enough volume to support the EV charging infrastructure in India. The company could give enough volumes to justify an investment in assembling its EV vehicles, since it has also expanded to Australia and the UK and Europe is its next big stop. This would help them get more investments.

Looking Forward

With the initiatives of the country’s leading cab aggregator and a number of initiatives by the government, it is fair to believe Ola’s ambition of bringing one million electric vehicles to Indian roads by 2022 is an achievable goal. Apart from the government support, with the funding from Ratan Tata and Tiger Global and Matrix Partners India, it is becoming evident of the amount of support that EV is getting and will get in the country.

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